Today we began a unit I have been SO EXCITED about doing with my kids for a long time now. 
It’s a “My Community” Unit,
 and it is appropriate for both Preschool and Kindergarten aged kids (and beyond!). 

Since it is Fire Awareness Week, we kicked things off with a visit to our local Fire Station here in North Strabane Township, PA. 
We had a great day, and Fireman Chris, and Fire Chief Mark showed us around.
It was an awesome morning of learning and exploring, and I actually learned a whole lot myself (and probably enjoyed it as much as the kids!). 
The guys at the Station truly went above and beyond for us. 

They let the kids take their time, and explore every square foot of the fire house AND the trucks, and they answered a gazillion questions.

Besides the main 3 engines (one of which had a 100 ft. ladder attached to the top), the kids got to explore a couple of smaller trucks, an emergency medical vehicle, a water tank truck, and a brush fire truck. 

They beeped the fire horns, sat in the drivers’ seats, and pretended to be fire fighters for the day!
The boys especially loved exploring the fire fighter’s tools, water hoses, “irons” and gear. 

Siah’s got the flathead axe, and Joshua’s wielding the Halligan tool–these two tools together comprise the fire fighter’s “irons,” used primarily for forced entry into buildings.
Here Fireman Chris is showing Eden how the infared detector works to find people in a smokey building. I learned that the price tag on this little gadget is about $500!

Fireman Chris put his full gear on for us (including his mask) and talked to my kiddos about not being afraid of guys dressed like him when there is a fire in your house…never really thought of kids being afraid of firemen when they enter a home to do a rescue, but sure enough, when he had that helmet and mask on, and was talking to us with his muffled voice between the loud breathing, my kids hunkered behind me in nervousness at the strange looking and sounding guy in front of them. 

He pulled his mask and helmet off to show it was still just him under all that gear. 
We also got to tour the Fire Station itself, see the kitchen and dining area, the lounge, and the bunk room.  Very cool.
Of course we practiced “STOP, DROP and ROLL”  and talked about general fire-safety tips.

While we were inside the fire house with Fireman Chris, this little guy came in to visit us!
As you can see, Joshua was beside himself with excitement. 

This remote controlled little engine is named Freddie, and he also talked to us about fire safety. 

He was a TOTAL hit, and I daresay Joshua made a new little friend. =D

One of the highlights of our visit was when Fireman Chris pulled one of the big engines out…

 then raised the ladder to the full 100 feet AND did a complete rotation for the kids!!

Whew!  Made this mama a wee bit nauseous just looking at it–could not imagine being at the top of that lift!  Takes a brave soul, I tell ya.

Interestingly, another highlight for the kids was getting to see the firemen’s gym.  The kids had a grand time trying out all the exercise and lifting equipment.  🙂  It certainly seemed like the guys at the station were a big family, and the atmosphere was one that made you feel like you could hang out all day.  The kids were sad to leave.

One of the paper fire engines we put together

But–we went home with goodie bags filled with all kinds of things–coloring books, a firetruck punch-out, pencil toppers, tattoos, activity books, stickers, decals, and of course, our fire-fighter’s hats. 

In my goodie bag, I had a pile of new batteries for our smoke detectors.

Later this month, I am planning on returning to the Fire Station with a few other interested families, and we’ll have even more special activities planned for us, including the trailer where the firemen simulate a real fire with smoke for the kids.  How cool is that?

But with or without an appointment, Fire Chief Mark invited us to come on down anytime we wanted.

In all, our firehouse field trip was a wild success. And, of course, it’s always even more wonderful when your field trip is totally FREE

Junior deputy Josiah (he was a wee bit under the weather during our tour)

I would suggest if you have elementary-age children, that you CALL down to your local fire department and ask them if you can come in for a tour.  Try to make a family affair of it if you can.  Tell them you want to see everything they are willing to show you, and when you’re there, ask lots of questions and show a real interest in what they do.  In return, you may be surprised how accomodating they will be towards you.  After a while, the guys at our Fire Station even asked if we wanted to go down the road in the engine!  (we were almost out of time, so we’re saving that adventure for the next visit).  I also learned that the fire department gets a certain amount of money in grants and funding which they can put towards community awareness.  Trust me on this, they will be THRILLED to pull out all the stops for you and your kiddos. 

Other totally FREE field trips we have coming up in our “My Community” tour:

–Giant Eagle Grocery Store-taste testing, nutrition education, and behind the scenes tour!
–Simmon’s Farm & Orchard–apple picking and applesauce making (free except for price of apples)
–EMS (ambulance) vehicle tour
–Police Station tour
–Round Hill Park and Tour of Animal Exhibit Farm
–Mcmurray Post Office Tour
–Tour of Bethel Bakery (can.not.wait for this one!)

Stay tuned for more postings, and if you are local, let me know if you are interested in joining us for any of our tours.  Each of these field trips are scheduled for Mondays or Fridays in October and November, and will be appropriate for preschoolers through 2nd or 3rd grade.

2 thoughts on ““My Community” Tour: Visiting the Fire Station

  1. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Sue, I would LOVE THAT!!! I will let you know when I get a secure date for the bakery. After much back and forth with the gal who arranges tours, I do not think it will be a full-blown tour as I was originally told we could do…more of a visit. But it’s definately right in your backyard, and I think it will be wonderful anyway. details soon…
    Lots of love!

  2. Sue

    Hey! I might be interested in the Bethel Bakery field trip! (and it’s close…maybe we could have a visit that day, too) Email me and let me know!

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